“So I got up to make a cup of tea and as I was walking down the hallway I heard a noise behind me and I turned around suddenly and heard a bang like something had shot into my brain.
“I started grabbing for my room, but couldn’t move and just lay on the floor – everything started closing in and it seemed like 20 people came running from all directions.
“I could see and hear everyone around me and I could feel everything, but I couldn’t talk. I just wanted to say ‘knock me out’.
“I was feeling pure fear.”
About seven hours later Chris woke up in Royal North Shore Hospital having undergone brain surgery.
Royal North Shore Hospital interventional neurologist Dr Alice Ma said Chris had experienced a brainstem stroke whereby the clot from the injured vertebral artery had broken off and lodged in his basilar artery.
“His symptoms are what we called a ‘locked in syndrome’ where he had preserved awareness and consciousness but was completely unable to move, breath or talk,” Alice said
“He was urgently retrieved to the Royal North Shore Hospital Neurointerventional suite where he had a successful mechanical thrombectomy of the brainstem.
“This procedure involves the placement of an access sheath in the femoral artery and guiding catheters directly to the brain.
“We then deploy a specialised stentriever device directly into the basilar artery clot and used an aspiration catheter to remove the clot. This allows blood flow to be restored to the brain.”
Alice said the radiology, ICU, anaesthetic teams, and the neurology team led by Associate Professor Martin Krause were crucial to the rapid coordination of Chris’ care and his excellent clinical outcome.
Chris said he was told the chances of suffering the localised incident that he had is about two in 100,000.
“I was lucky being where I was and having the support I had. I had an amazing surgeon and team to make sure everything was going to be okay,” Chris said.
“I just want them to know how grateful my family and I are.”